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CBI and TUC Sign Up to Workplace Revolution


The CBI and TUC are spearheading a campaign for a 21st century working revolution, which would see more organisations sign up to flexible working.

Richard Lambert, director general of the CBI, and Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, were the first today to sign the ‘concordat’ supporting the development and implementation of the Work Wise UK campaign and objectives.

The campaign aims to promote the wider adoption of practices such as flexible working, working from home, mobile and remote working. Work Wise UK says the resulting workplace revolution would be similar in impact to the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century.

Brendan Barber, general secretary if the TUC, said: "Introducing smarter working practices across UK workplaces would give employees more choice over their hours and working patterns. Greater flexibility that allows people to work from home occasionally could have a major impact on their lives.

“Less time would be wasted commuting and people would get to see more of their friends and families. It would also help reduce stress levels, allowing staff to be more effective at work and healthier generally.”

Richard Lambert, director general of the CBI, said that many businesses were seeing rewards such as improved productivity and staff recruitment and retention after adopting flexible working practices.

Another signatory to the concordat, BT, and also the first corporate body to become a strategic partner to Work Wise UK, is one of the UK's leaders in the introduction of smarter working practices with 80,000, of its workforce, including around 12,000 homeworkers, working flexibly.

As well as a 20% increase in productivity, BT has saved more than £80 million in travel and other costs because of increasing use of conference calls rather than face-to-face meetings. BT staff who decided to use conference calls rather than drive to a meeting saved around 300 miles each time. One in four of the replaced meetings would have been in London, while the overall savings to BT are estimated at between 10 and 15 times greater than the cost of providing conferencing facilities.

Sir Christopher Bland, BT chairman, said: "The use of conferencing services within BT is now the preferred way to work in many parts of the business. It enables BT people to better manage their work life balance and saves huge amounts of travel with associated costs and environmental impacts."

As well as saving time and money, Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation explained that the road congestion predicted with the growth of car use in the Eddington Report, could be averted through smarter working.

King said: “The Eddington report suggests that road pricing is a "no-brainer" yet national road pricing is at least ten years away and public opposition logged via a Downing Street petition is growing daily. The appeal of smarter working is that it could lead to a significant reduction in congestion and carbon emissions immediately with the full support of the public. If people could work from home just one day a week this would be equivalent to removing the amount of traffic we see disappear during the school holidays."

In addition to reducing road use, smarter working practices are also likely to reduce the pressure on public transport.


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